South Asian Union is perhaps a utopian concept for skeptics in Dhaka, Delhi and Islamabad; but a concept prophetically embraced by those in the European Union and ASEAN. Our journey of division and sub-division started as soon as Jinnah and Nehru allowed Radcliff to sharpen his magic pencil. The Raj rightly identified the deepest point of division, religion, and ensured its longevity by all means at its disposal. I won’t be surprised to see 71’ war criminal Golam Azam being awarded Queen’s shelter as the United Kingdom has yet to get over its hallucination swings between the past and the present.
Gandhi had to live through the Spanish tragedies of trains to India and Pakistan.- But he had by then become irrelevant or irritating to the power structure. Hindu militants especially could not take Bapu’s wailings for Muslim kids and Nathuram Godsey killed him in anguish. Bangabandhu’s murmurs for Hindu kids earned the wrath of a few western-educated Pakistan trained army officers. They didn’t just dare to kill the mountain, rather sent militant Muslims to burn down the mountain altogether.
The British left and Americans filled the vacuum. Jinnah wasn’t even buried before our colonial cousins once again started their divide and rule machinations. One by one Ayub, Yahia, Zia-P, Zia-B, Ershad, Musharraf and Moyeen all carried out the role of James Bonds with pre-scripted precision.
A group of nihilistic academicians, wrote the Machiavellian screenplay for South Asia. But now it’s our turn to tune back the clock by offering two Socratic chairs, for Gandhi Ji and Bangabandhu.
Despite all odds Nehru pushed India onto the ride to globalization. Alas, his nemesis, Jinnah, didn’t get the chance to enter that race. When Pakistan was shining with Army stars, Nehru ignited candles in the huts of India. Armed with the same light Jyoti Basu maintained the mantle of leftism, yet died with yearnings for his sweet home in Bangladesh. On the eastern flank, Bangabandhu tried to use the Cuban model for a Dream Bangladesh, but lacked efficient comrades who could hold that dream.
The British Raj had already shown us what shortcuts to success could feel like, by awarding the Rai and Khan Bahadurs, so we chose to undermine Gandhi’s Dream India or Bangabandhu’s Dream Bangladesh. We could neither draw inspiration from Quran nor from Das Capital and so South Asia became Las Vegas for the corrupt, the powerful and the Freudians of politics, business, showbiz: all in a rat race for a dog’s death.
We have been left at the mercy of Islamic militants acting as mercenaries of death. Pakistan is burning in extremism; some would say it’s paying the price for the ‘71 genocide which cost Bangladesh three million human lives. Unless Pakistan tries the war criminals of 1971 and pays indemnity for war losses, it can never develop with a clean conscience. We have the Germans as an example: they tried the Nazis, brought closure to the affectees of WW-2 and are now living a happy civilized life. The citizens of Bangladesh also want closure.
We have tried the traitors who killed our Father of the Nation and his family, including a pregnant daughter-in-law and a 6-year-old son, in cold blood. But we are still far from bringing to justice those who collaborated with the enemies of humanity during 1971.
Judiciary in Bangladesh is free to try the Golam Azam-led Jamaat trio of Nijami, Mujahid, and Sayeedi , as well as other war criminals of ’71, who tried to buy freedom through the age-old politics of matrimonial alliances at different geometrical corners. There is not a sliver of remorse on their faces or in their words for destroying Muslim-Hindu harmony in Bangladesh or for their misdeeds as masterminds of rapes, kills and pillage. In my chance interviews of German war criminals, I recorded both regret and reconciliation. But, alas, I saw none in Bangladesh traitors. I only saw them smiling with cannibalistic pleasure on showbiz screens.
Emboldened by our cowardice, this very Jamaat trio recently went so far as to compare their petty political hazards with that of the glorious peace struggle of Prophet Muhammad. They also had the audacity to proclaim that Bangla Bhai was nothing but a media creation, thereby siding with the militants.
They have taken their operational successes of 1971 and the freedom to float religious shares through public offices as a carte blanche for selling profit-based jihad, with their counterparts in Pakistan managing the funds, weapons, training, Afghan joints and the dream of 70 virgins.
American and Russian egos over Vodka-Cognac conflicts resulted in tearing apart the harmonic soul of South Asia. Muslim and Hindu militants then divided the spoils amongst themselves. Under the guise of creating religious harmony their top guns hold meetings in Dhaka, Mumbai, Peshawar or Kandahar. These war mafias-for-hire can be identified by their religio-political masks and their reverence for darkness. They are born collaborators of evil, be it in any country. By selling fire and tears, they buy 10-year-old boys for sacrifice at the altar of their gods.
What we are going through is a clash of homogeneous civilizations. This is the time for our religious thinkers and scholars to break their oath of silence. The vicious cycle of arms- politics-media-war-reconstruction-money-power-prostitution can only be broken by minimizing the gap between state leaders and citizens through dialogue and roaring debate. An eye for an eye will only cost us another useful life.
For starters we would like to see justice served for ’71, to pave a peaceful future for our friends and children.